Sunday, September 19, 2010

la ladrilleria

About a week ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer, along with my roommate and other friends, at a place simply known as "the brickyard." The brickyard is a place where many people from the mountains have moved to work and live. They have constructed tiny little homes that are falling apart, and there are children running around barefoot amidst trash and scraggly dogs. The site is absolutely heartbreaking. But this is the Mexico I came to see. This is the Mexico I long to know and love. 

The children all freaked out when they saw me. I'm pretty sure most of them have never seen a Black person in their lives, so this was a cultural learning experience for them, too. A group of boys all pointed and laughed at me, screaming "AFRICA, AFRICA, AFRICA!" And when my roommate told them that I speak and understand Spanish, they were quite sheepish. However, for the rest of the time, I had to keep reminding them that I am, in fact, from the United States; I have never visited Africa, and my family is from there, but it was many many many many years ago. 

What I loved most about going to the brickyard was loving on the kids and making them feel special. It reminded me so much of the Broadacres community that I worked with when I was in Athens. There were the tiny, cute, and sweet kids. Then there were the little troublemakers who knew they were cute. There were also the kids who truly wanted to be there and those who obviously just came for the candy and because it gave them something to do. It is funny how the Lord prepares you for various experiences based on those prior. 

My experience at the brickyard made me crave more times where I am getting dirty and not even caring about it for the sake of children who are precious in God's sight. I came to Mexico with hopes of gaining new perspective, starting a new chapter in my life, and being given a vision from the Lord to change the world. Little by little, He is beginning to do all that and more.

 I first heard the song "Change" by Carrie Underwood (love her) on CNN's Heroes awards show last Thanksgiving. The lyrics are provocative and simple; will you allow them to speak to your heart as they have mine?

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